When the Maryland General Assembly starts its annual 90-day session on Wednesday, nearly a third of the lawmakers will be newly elected.
The freshman class includes the legislature’s largest group of female lawmakers to ever serve in the state house.
Their personal and professional experience runs the gamut. Some are teachers, others are attorneys and former congressional and legislative aides. There are two former journalists, one talk show radio host, a former Broadway star and a former entertainer on a cruise ship.
To celebrate their swearing in, here’s one interesting fact about each of the 61 newest members of the House of Delegates and Senate, taken from their campaign websites and media reports:
Gabriel Acevero (D-Montgomery): He is a union organizer and community advocate who is young, Afro-Latino and gay
Lauren Arikan (R-Baltimore County): She lives on an eight-acre farm with chickens and dairy goats; supports midwifery; founded Birth Circle of Baltimore; and considers herself a member of Turkish-American community
Dalya Attar (D-Baltimore City): She is a Baltimore prosecutor and an Orthodox Jew.
Heather Bagnall (D-Anne Arundel): She is an actress who cofounded a theatrical company. About a decade ago she worked for Disney as part of its cruise line entertainment.
J. Sandra Bartlett (D-Anne Arundel): She is an attorney that practices intellectual property law and served on the Anne Arundel County Democratic Central Committee for eight years.
Harry Bhandari (D-Baltimore County): He says he is the first Nepalese-American immigrant to be elected in Maryland
Joseph Boteler III (R-Baltimore County): He served as chairman of President Trump’s 2016 campaign in Baltimore County
Regina Boyce (D-Baltimore City): She used to work for the Department of Athletics and Recreation at Johns Hopkins University, studied kinesiology and loves biking in her district
Tony Bridges (D-Baltimore City): He has worked for both former Governor Martin O’Malley (D) and former Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon (D), doing community relations-type work
Alice Cain (D-Anne Arundel): She worked on Capitol Hill in the late 1980s, and appeared on MSNBC in 2017 to talk about the #MeToo movement and about being groped by a congressional donor decades earlier
Jon S. Cardin (D-Baltimore): He returns to the House of Delegates after a failed bid for Attorney General in 2014. The nephew of U.S. Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.), he has had weird encounters with rappers in Baltimore and proposed to his now-wife using city resources in the Inner Harbor.
Julie Palakovich Carr (D-Montgomery): She is a scientist and teaches scientists how to communicate. She is the CEO of Victory Guide, a tech start-up for people seeking elected office
Lorig Charkoudian (D-Montgomery): She is the daughter of Armenian civil rights activists who has a PhD in conflict resolution/mediation practices. She once organized an event to lobby Starbucks to allow mothers to breastfeed openly
Nick Charles (D-Prince George’s): He served in the Air Force for five years
Brian Chisholm (R-Anne Arundel): He owns a fitness gym in Severna Park and fills the seat vacated by Meagan Simonaire, a one-term Republican who did not seek re-election and switched parties last year.
Dan Cox (R-Frederick): A conservative who once ran for Congress, he was a decathlete during his time at St. Mary’s College. To work his way through college, he worked as a lifeguard and a restaurant server.
Brian Crosby (D-St. Mary’s): He was a U.S. Army Ranger for five years
Charlotte Crutchfield (D-Montgomery): She is an attorney and a military widow who once served as an assistant state’s attorney and now practices employment law
Debra M. Davis (D-Charles): She is a former two-term member of the Charles County Board of Commissioners and an attorney who works in Prince George’s County
Jessica Feldmark (D-Howard): She served as chief of staff to former Howard County Executive Ken Ulman. Two decades ago she served in AmeriCorps.
Wanika Fisher (D-Prince George’s): She was a student government leader at the University of Maryland. An attorney, she worked as an aide to former Sen. Victor Ramirez
Michele Guyton (D-Baltimore): She is a developmental psychologist. All three of her sons have disabilities, and she co-founded a support group for families with disabilities. She served on the state Board of Education (appointed by Gov. Larry Hogan (R))
Andrea Harrison (D-Prince George’s): She is a former Prince George’s County Council member and the daughter of a well-known Prince George’s politician.
Wayne Hartman (R-Worcester): He is a former Ocean City Council member who describes himself as a fiscal conservative.
Julian Ivey (D-Prince George’s): As a child, he played Simba in Broadway’s Lion King. The son of well-known politicos in Prince George’s, he led protests at the University of Maryland over campus police tactics and campus racism
Steve Johnson (D-Harford): As a youngster, he lived in Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia. He used to work as a supervisor for a construction company on a project at Locust Point Shipyard.
Ken Kerr (D-Frederick): He is an English professor who was first elected to the Frederick school board.
Mary Lehman (D-Prince George’s): She is a former Prince George’s County Council member. She also is a former journalist
Robbyn Lewis (D-Baltimore City): She was appointed to the legislature in December 2016. Her parents sent her and her sisters to Hebrew Day School. She spent a year studying abroad in France and has worked in the Peace Corp in Africa.
Lesley Lopez (D-Montgomery): She is a former journalist and worked on America’s Most Wanted. She was adopted by her stepfather, who is Hispanic
Sara Love (D-Montgomery): She is a graduate of Princeton University. She is a lawyer, a social justice advocate and for the last few years was a lobbyist for the Maryland chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.
Nino Mangione (R-Baltimore County): While at Towson University he was president of the Towson University Republican Club. His family owns WCBM, a radio station in Baltimore County, where he hosts a radio show.
Jesse Pippy (R-Frederick): He grew up in a military family and lived in Europe and Asia.
Lily Qi (D-Montgomery): She is a first generation Chinese immigrant, married to an opera singer.
Mike Rogers (D-Anne Arundel): He served 30 years in the Army, first as a medical service corp officer. He retired as a colonel
Emily Shetty (D-Montgomery): An attorney, she has a background in public policy, including serving as legislative director to U.S. Rep. Ed Towns (D-N.Y.) and senior legislative director of legislative affairs for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Stephanie Smith (D-Baltimore City): She is an attorney. She was a member of AmeriCorps and earned her masters degree in urban affairs and public policy.
Jared Solomon (D-Montgomery): He worked as policy advisor to U.S. Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania.
Vaughn Stewart (D-Montgomery): He served as policy director for then-state Sen. Jamie Raskin’s successful congressional campaign. He grew up in Alabama and attended NYU Law School.
Jen Terrasa (D-Howard): She is an attorney who served 12 years on the Howard County Council.
Veronica Turner (D-Prince George’s): She is a former delegate who opposed the ultimately successful campaign for same-sex marriage in Maryland. Her 2018 campaign website described her as “the godmother of family issues.”
Courtney Watson (D-Howard): She is a former two-term member of the Howard County Council. Her public career began as a member of the county school board
Ron Watson (D-Prince George’s): He served on the Prince George’s County school board for four years. His parents are retired principals
Melissa Wells (D-Baltimore City): She is a member of the Baltimore Washington Trades union
Malcolm Augustine (D-Prince George’s): He is a former member of the Metro board. He coaches his daughters’ basketball and track teams
Jack Bailey (R-St. Mary’s): He retired after 30 years as a Natural Resources police officer. He dropped out of college in his freshman year to work construction and later in life finished his bachelor’s degree and obtain his master’s degree.
Pam Beidle (D-Anne Arundel): She has served in the House of Delegates since 2006. Before joining the General Assembly, she was a member of the Anne Arundel County Council for almost 10 years.
Jill Carter (D-Baltimore City): She returns to Annapolis after serving 14 years in the House of Delegates. She is the daughter of the late civil rights leader, Walter P. Carter.
Mary Beth Carozza (R-Worcester): She served in the House of Delegates for one term. Grew up in Ocean City and worked in her family’s business, “Beefy’s.”
Sarah Elfreth (D-Anne Arundel): She was the student member of the Board of Regents at Towson University. She becomes the youngest woman in history to serve in the state Senate
Arthur Ellis (D-Charles): He is an accountant who served in the Air Force but was discharged due to injury
Jason Gallion (R-Harford): He is a farmer, a volunteer fireman and a native Marylander. His first job, at 15, was milking cows on his uncle’s farm. He fills the seat of former Sen. Wayne Norman who died unexpectedly last session
Melony Griffith (D-Prince George’s): She served 16 years in the House of Delegates
Antonio Hayes (D-Baltimore City): He served one term in the House of Delegates. He works as the chief of staff for the Baltimore City Department of Social Services and once served as assistant deputy mayor
Katie Fry Hester (D-Howard): She is an engineer. She also is a Maryland first responder and volunteers for WISP Ski Patrol.
Ben Kramer (D-Montgomery): He is a three-term delegate who prides himself on working across the aisle. He says “disagreeing without being disagreeable” is his motto
Clarence Lam (D-Howard): He is a doctor who served in the House for one term. He served as a health educator in AmeriCorps and as a deacon at his church
Cory McCray (D-Baltimore City): He is an electrician. His first major piece of legislation while serving in the House of Delegates was a bill that restored voting rights to felons. He served one term in the House
Obie Patterson (D-Prince George’s): He has some of the most legislative experience of any in the freshman class. Returns to the General Assembly after serving three terms in the House (1994-2002) and two terms on the Prince George’s County Council.
Mary Washington (D-Baltimore City): She joins the Senate after serving eight years in the House of Delegates. She is the first openly gay woman to serve in the Senate
Jeff Waldstreicher (D-Montgomery): He was elected to the House of Delegates in 2006. He was on the law review at the University of California at Berkeley School of Law, where he received his law degree